Bell said, “I am for marriage. I am for fidelity. I am for love, whether it’s a man and woman, a woman and a woman, a man and a man. I think the ship has sailed and I think the church needs — I think this is the world we are living in and we need to affirm people wherever they are.”
Bell went on to say that while it used to be fair to equate evangelicals with social conservatism, that assumption no longer holds true. More pointedly, he said, “I think we are witnessing the death of a particular subculture that doesn’t work. I think there is a very narrow, politically intertwined, culturally ghettoized, Evangelical subculture that was told “we’re gonna change the thing” and they haven’t. And they actually have turned away lots of people. And i think that when you’re in a part of a subculture that is dying, you make a lot more noise because it’s very painful. You sort of die or you adapt. And if you adapt, it means you have to come face to face with some of the ways we’ve talked about God, which don’t actually shape people into more loving, compassionate people. And we have supported policies and ways of viewing the world that are actually destructive. And we’ve done it in the name of God and we need to repent.” -excerpt from the Huffington Post
I was discouraged by this greatly. When your book came out, Love Wins, I began to see you differently than I had in the past. You never came out and said what you believed, but challenged us to consider the fact that there is no Hell. I tend to disagree with that thought, but seeing as you didn't actually say you believed it either, made me wonder what your intentions were.
When I read this most recent article I felt like you had decided that it is your job to wake up the American church. While I believe we do need an awaking and a call to love and take care of the poor, I don't believe this message you presented is one that calls us to unite as the Body of Christ.
I personally don't condone gay marriage for a few reasons and I don't believe the church should either. There are many churches out there who's pastors require that people deal with their sexual struggles prior to getting married. I believe a homosexual lifestyle is sin, just the same as any other sin, but entering into a marriage with sexual sin can easily destroy a marriage. Ignoring God's teachings and teaching something contrary to His plan is painful and does not bring life. Only following Him will.
Now, I could have accepted your statement that you are for love regardless, but saying that we need to adjust based on our culture is not something I believe God would call us to. In fact, He called us to be different than our culture. He called us to live differently than those around us and to show them that we are different.
I have had several homosexual friends in the past 5 years. A couple of them I had conversations with daily. I didn't think anything less of them. I know we all have sin. God calls us to separate ourselves from sin and to draw on Him to help us get free from the bondage that sin creates.
I don't think we should preach that God hates homosexuals, rather God does love everyone. I do think thought that we should preach to be willing to have relationships with anyone despite their personal sins and struggles. It is through those relationships that we are able to help each other out of the bondage of sin and grow to who God wants us to be.
When I consider all that you said, I hear a message of tolerance rather than love. I don't think Jesus taught tolerance.
Rob, let me put it this way. You are in the spotlight whether you like it or not. God has allowed you that position. Personally, a message of community rather than isolationism is far more needed than many of these political issues that have been rising. If we got back to living in community, and really got to know people for they are, we could see a lot more people living as Christ intended us to live. I know you wouldn't get as much publicity if you didn't speak on such controversial subjects, but you have to consider the fact that when you do speak on these subjects that your message will be used to divide the church.
Like I said before, I will be unable to accept you as a teacher/preacher. You have done some great work and have been used by God in many ways. I believe God loves you. I just can't believe that God wants His church divided nor does He want us to be tolerant. He does not want us to hate, reject, or hold down those that don't believe the same as we do, nor does He want us to hold someone in bondage over their sin. I have to believe there is a fine line between showing love/acceptance and being tolerant. Unfortunately your message crossed that line and sounds like you believe it is better to show love to someone and let them be held captive than to love the person, develop a relationship, and help them out of their chains.
Thank you for taking time to read my letter,